[QODLink]
Middle East

Envoys step up efforts to defuse Egypt crisis

US senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham are expected to begin a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy in Cairo.

Last Modified: 06 Aug 2013 13:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A fresh round of intense diplomatic efforts are under way in Egypt to broker a peaceful end to the crisis sparked by the military's overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi.

The European Union's Middle East envoy Bernardino Leon and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns extended their stay in Cairo to hold talks with Morsi supporters and members of the army-backed interim
leadership that replaced him.

Spotlight
Follow our ongoing coverage of the political crisis in Egypt

Leon met Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi on Monday, a day after talks with Muslim Brotherhood deputy leader, Khairat el-Shater, in prison.

Meanwhile, in a renewed push to find a solution to the crisis, US senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham were expected to begin a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy in Cairo on Tuesday.

Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department in Washington, said that Burns and Leon had visited Shater on Sunday, accompanied by the foreign ministers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Harf said the visit was intended to "prevent further violence, calm tensions and facilitate an inclusive dialogue among Egyptians that can help the transition to a democratically elected civilian government".

Morsi's deputy refused to discuss the situation with the envoys, saying that the Brotherhood's position on defending Morsi's legitimacy was "unchanged", according to Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad.

Haddad said the envoys "still carry the position that we should swallow the reality and accept that the military coup has happened and try to recover with minimum damage".

"We refuse to do so," Haddad said.

There was no agreement on how to start talks, he added.

Harf said that "as of now", Burns had no plans to meet Morsi.

Shuttle diplomacy

Recently, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Arab diplomats, an African delegation and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle have all travelled to Cairo in a bid to defuse the crisis.

Army chief General Abdel Fattah El Sisi also held talks with Islamist political leaders, including Salafist clerics Sheikh Mohammed Hassan and Mohammed Abdel Salam, who just days before had addressed pro-Morsi supporters at a rally.

But Yasser Ali, a spokesman for the pro-Morsi demonstrators, said the clerics had met Sisi "without having been mandated".

Sisi, who also met Burns during the envoy's visit, has urged Washington to use its "leverage" with the Muslim Brotherhood to bring about an end to the protests.

He insisted that the police, not the military, would be charged with dispersing the demonstrations.

Morsi supporters continue to stage sit-in protests that have paralysed parts of the capital and further polarised an already deeply divided country.

Authorities have promised demonstrators a safe exit and said an end to their protests would allow the Muslim Brotherhood to return to political life.

But backers of the ousted leader have steadfastly refused to bow to official pressure and demand for Morsi's release and reinstatement.

More than 250 people have been killed in deadly political violence since Morsi was toppled on July 3.

516

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.